Without the technology we have today, the government had to rely on manpower, specifically from society's most innocent members - minors. Children in the UK especially were much easier to manipulate and were largely oblivious to the creeping diminishment of their civil liberties.
I-Spy books were published by the state and given as gifts, as well as distributed to schools, youth clubs and infant terror organisations (see "The Infant Liberation Front"). The books transformed the tedium of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. These included "free-thinkers, beneficiaries of welfare and other degenerates. [...] Extremists, potential extremists, and those whose profound lack of extremist attributes is extreme in itself, are also worthy of suspicion and censure."
The completed books even prompted children to spy on themselves, which many found difficult, even with the mirrors provided.
Each completed book was sent to a local government councillor whose job it was to forward the data to the relevant renditions team, and also to decide if any compensation was due to the child; for example, if the surveillance data they had submitted led to the arrest and execution of a parent.
More about surveillance in Scarfolk here:
"Unlearn Privacy Cards"
"We Watch You While You Sleep. TV Signal Intrusion"
"Roy, The Telekinetic Child-Owl"